Somaliland: The Gang of Three and the Lame Duck Presidency


By: Dr Maher Ege

Somalilandsun – During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing and three associates took control of the Communist party and were accused of some of the worst excesses during the Cultural Revolution. After the death of Chairman Mao, they tried to seize the power of the Communist Party but they were caught and charged with treasonous crimes. It was a coup d’état which dramatically failed. They were all given long jail sentences.

A similar situation is developing in the breakaway Republic of Somaliland. Somaliland although, it is not recognized by the international community; it has a functioning government since its declaration of a separate entity from Somalia after a devastating civil war. The present government was elected almost two and half years ago but during this short period a number of questionable incidents have taken place.

Firstly in the early days of this government, we have been told that the president has paid an official visit to China. This has been followed by a confusion regarding the whereabouts of the president and ultimately we’ve been told that he has been in Hong Kong rather than China. Unfortunately, up to now nobody can tell where the hell he has visited.

Secondly, out of the blue the president has posted a video on YouTube. He has delivered a mysterious speech whereby he has insulted some of the dignitaries of Somaliland, most of whom are from the opposition parties. The video has been a surprise to all of those who are interested in the welfare and existence of Somaliland. Some of us have questioned the state of the president’s mind.

Thirdly, we all remember the vote rigging which took place in November 2012 local elections in Somaliland which the government has paid huge sums of tax payers’ money to bribe some of the electoral commission officials in order to put their cronies in key positions.

Some insiders argue that the President has a minister called the Minister of Presidency who helps the octogenarian President with his day to day work. His name is Hersi haji Ali and is a cousin of the President. The President trusts him and therefore he wields a considerable power over other dignitaries of Somaliland including other Ministers. A prominent opposition politician said, “He intimidates other ministers”. He added that he is a loose cannon and he is not accountable to nobody.

Somaliland politics is based purely on tribal affiliation and this government is no different. The Minister of Presidency is not an elected member of the parliament and it is the President who has brought him into the cabinet in the first place and now he is more powerful than the President.

A powerful minister said that the President is an octogenarian gentleman and needs a young and flexible individual to help him as the President may not be able to work twenty-four seven; he might have some health problems.

There are other unconfirmed reports accusing Mr Hersi of misusing the official presidential letters without the knowledge of the president. It is alleged that the letters have got the true signature of the president so everyone who is the inner circle of the president can use them. The Somaliland press said “all members of his tribe can use them”. The paper added” they got five years to enrich themselves”; “There is no harm in doing so, is it?”, “After all they are only helping the octogenarian president”.

The papers said “there is another chap who is also running the show”. Unofficial news points the finger to the owner of Dahabshiil, formerly Dhiigshiil, the owner a remittance company. He is the main backer in the president’s election and he is a member of his immediate family. He is another cousin of the President. He is number two of the gang of three.

Mr Dhiigshiil has attempted to build a cement factor in Somaliland without any consultation of the local people because he has bank rolled the president’s election and hence does not need the approval of the president or consultation with anyone. Moreover, he has got the official seal of the President such as a set of president’s stamps and signed letter heads. The local papers asked him that his actions are bad for a democratic country. He replied “Who cares about democracy?” He added “We’ve our tribal way of doing things”. It is rumoured that he has a lot of influence in decision making. The outspoken Somaliland Press wrote” he has been involved in buying the votes of five candidates in November 2012 local elections”. The paper added “They are all from his tribe”. “He is proud to help his cousins to enrich themselves”.

The president does not do much work as he feels tired most the time and hence withdraws into his room. Some people argue that the President hasn’t got a clue what is going in the country; he behaves like a child. Furthermore, some papers speculate that he might be suffering from Alzheimer disease. This brings us the third most powerful person in the land – the President’s wife. She is educated in England and she speaks a number of languages. She access to power and money and she exercise her power unwisely. She practically rules the country although she is elected. She promotes the interests of her husband family. She is behind the local election fraud in November 2012 in Somaliland with the help of Hersi and dhiigshiil; the two other members of the gang.

Some people argue that both of them are elderly and they’ve no retirement money, therefore they are collecting money which they can spend when they go back to England. Before their retirement, however, the gang of three will continue to run the country, even though they are not elected.

The people of Somaliland have become fed up of this gang and the president has been asked to take action against them but he has refused. He said “They are only helping me to run the country.”

The losers, however, are only the people of Somaliland who have elected a dysfunctional president and now the country is run by a powerful gang of three. Unfortunately, Somaliland doesn’t have a communist party which can save it like China, and Somaliland is set to be destroyed.

Dr Maher Ege